1. I do not think we are bound to set aside the conviction and sentence of the Sessions Court merely on the ground that the Committing Magistrate had no territorial jurisdiction over the place in which the offence is alleged to have been committed. The order of commitment was an order under Section 531, Criminal Procedure Code, not liable to be set aside because the proceedings were taken in a wrong place unless the error occasioned a failure of justice. The Magistrate was himself empowered to commit to the Sessions, and did not in so doing usurp an authority to which, he was not entitled. I do not think Section 532, Code of criminal Procedure, applies--See The Queen Empress v. James Ingle I. L. R 16 B 200 ; nor am I of opinion that the institution of proceedings in the wrong sub-division has occasioned a failure of justice, The Sessions Court which tried the case had territorial jurisdiction even though the Committing Magistrate had not. Under Section 537, Code of Criminal Procedure, we should not be justified in reversing the sentence on account of the irregularity previous to the trial.
2. Nor do I think accused is entitled to a new trial on account of witnesses whose attendance could not be procured. Every effort, was made to secure their attendance.
3. Before proceeding to the merits of this appeal a legal objection to the validity of the trial has to be considered.
4. It is urged on behalf of appellants that the Joint Magistrate by whom the case was referred to the 2nd Class Magistrate for enquiry with a view to the committal of the case for trial by the Sessions Court was without jurisdiction in the case and that as the objection was taken before the commitment, the commitment ought to have been quashed under Section 532 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
5. The section is as follows:--If any Magistrate or other authority purporting to exercise powers duly conferred, which were not so conferred, commits an accused person for trial before a Court of Session or High Court, the court to which the commitment is made may, after perusal of the proceedings, accept the commitment if ft considers that the accused has not been injured thereby, unless, during the inquiry and before the order of commitment, objection was made on behalf either of the accused or of the prosecution to the jurisdiction of such Magistrate or other authority.
6. If such court considers that the accused was injured, or if such objection was so made, it shall quash the commitment, and direct a fresh inquiry by a competent Magistrate.'
7. The words 'purporting to exercise powers duly conferred' at the beginning of this section appear to me to have reference to Section 206 of the Code and signify 'power to commit for trial;' and as all Magistrates in this Presidency are empowered to commit to the Court of Session, I am of opinion that this objection must be disallowed. There can be no doubt that the Sessions Court of the North Arcot District is the proper court to which the case should have been committed, and as the commitment, even if irregular, cannot have prejudiced the accused the objections must be further disallowed with reference to the provisions of Section 537 of the Code.